Last Saturday, Lindsey Stirling served as mistress of ceremonies for Arizona’s Distinguished Young Women awards. (“It’s not a pageant. It’s a scholarship program.”) It was a return of sorts for Lindsey. For on that very stage at Mountain View High School, in Mesa, that Lindsey herself was crowned as Arizona’s Junior Miss exactly 10 years ago. It was also at that same event that she experimented with a new concept in 2005. “I’d like to see if I can play the violin and dance at the same time.” Well, the rest is history. Granted, to see that ‘05 pageant performance and compare it to a 2015 Lindsey Stirling extravaganza is a real contrast. (She plays a lot better and she dances a LOT more.) Still at the time it was a new frontier — and it blew the audiences and the judges away. She had found something phenomenal that she has run with and made completely her own.
But last Saturday night, ten years later, when I saw her take that podium as well as that stage, I realized something breathtaking. Lindsey is not only a talented and exceptional performer – she is also a consummate entertainer who is as comfortable hob-nobbing conversationally with a crowded auditorium as she is sharing her art with a packed amphitheater – and she is capable of doing both interchangeably. There are a lot of great performers, and not quite as many great entertainers. But Lindsey Stirling is both and more. She is a master at the art of showmanship – and that is rare. It is a discipline that comes naturally to a select few, in a complex blend of talent, a love of the stage, affection for the fans, and pure charisma. Not many have it — but Lindsey does. And it is that indefinable quality that has drawn enthusiasts to her from six continents – the mysterious something that is moving a world to fall in love with a dancing violinist.